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Organizers of the Berkshire Mountains Faerie Festival updated the Arts Advisory Board of plans to hold the event next year, pending pandemic outcomes.

Adams Arts Advisory Board Gives Update on Cultural District Designation

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Arts Advisory Board provided an update on Monday for its initiative to have downtown Adams designated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as a state-sanctioned cultural district.

The potential benefits of the cultural district designation, outlined on the AAAB's website, include increased tourism, preservation of historic buildings, cultural development and economic growth.

George LeMaitre, treasurer for the board, said the board sent letters inviting local businesses and organizations to support the initiative. He said, among others, Town Administrator Jay Green provided a letter of support for the plan.

"We sent those letters, and we received 18 letters of support," he said. "Really nice letters from all sectors of our community."

LeMaitre said Green also wrote a letter to Luis Cotto, cultural districts program manager at the Mass Cultural Council, inviting him to visit Adams. He said there had not been a response from Cotto as of the meeting.

"I'm hoping when he does give a response that he sees enough evidence and support in the town that he would like to come visit the town," he said. "And meet with the stakeholders involved with setting up the culture business."

Also discussed at the meeting, Deirdre Flynn-Sullivan and Richard Tavelli of the Berkshire Mountains Faerie Festival updated the board on the status of the next festival, slated for Bowe Field on June 18, 2022. The festival was canceled the last two years because of COVID-19.

"We will follow any protocols set by the state, town, nationally, whatever the CDC sees as protocols for safety for the faerie fest as we get closer to that event," Flynn-Sullivan said.

Flynn-Sullivan said the plan right now is for the festival to happen and, depending on COVID-19, plan around potential safety protocols.

"Can that affect what we set up and how we set it up? Yes," she said. "And we were just talking here this evening, [Richard Tavelli] and myself, about the increase in the virus and things like that. So we're concerned, but we are moving forward."

Tavelli said the festival's goal is to promote creativity and art within Adams. He said the festival brings people to town and helps promote businesses and community activity.

"It is not just the arts, but it is the whole awareness of arts and the community," he said. "And that includes the business community as well."

Yina Moore, founder and executive director of Adams Theater and member of the AAAB, said the theater is preparing to host a fundraiser at some point in early 2022.

"Yina is interested in doing a fundraiser with local community support," LeMaitre said. "She's working with David Bissaillon to invite some people to an event that would be a fundraiser to help raise money for theater equipment for the theater and create a 'friends of the theater' kind of association or support group."

The board plans on representing the theater being a sponsor for the fundraiser, allowing donations to be considered tax-deductible charity donations.

"The theater is an LLC. It is not a non-profit. And [Yina] would like to be able to offer people the ability to have a tax charitable deduction," LeMaitre said.

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MassDOT to Resurface Adams' Howland Avenue

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The state Department of Transportation is set to resurface all four lanes of Howland Avenue in fiscal 2023, with work expected to begin in the fall. 


"We don't know the exact number; we do know that the scope is, essentially, just north of the roundabout, all the way up to the city line by Bounti-Fare," said Town Administrator Jay Green at Wednesday's Board of Selectmen meeting. "The methodology of the resurfacing is yet to be determined. MassDOT engineers need to come out and work with our DPW to do core samples to determine the condition of the roadway that's underneath the surface." 


The poor condition of Howland Avenue and other issues on the road, such as speeding and accidents, have become a focus for town officials. Green clarified that the resurfacing work does not mean the end of the Howland Avenue redesign project, which the town showed the first concept designs for in March


"The idea is to get us, at least, all the way through until we can reduce the road size and execute our master plan for that road, which folks know we are undertaking," he said. "Our engineers are studying collecting public feedback about it and tweaking that design." 


Green said work on Howland Avenue would not be possible without help, specifically mentioning Francisca Heming, District 1 highway director, and state Rep. John Barrett III. 


"We spent a lot of time strategizing, we spent a lot of time advocating and, as I said, those folks I think really came through for Adams," he said. "We'll monitor the project and we'll and keep the public informed. I think this is great news for the town and it's not going to affect any dollars on our end at all." 


The town's been complaining about the condition of the road for years, especially compared to the recently paved Curran Highway in North Adams. The state owns that section of Route 8 but not the road that runs through Adams. Motorists have been riding in the lefthand lane on Howland to avoid the potholes and cracks in the righthand lane.


In other business, Raymond Gargan Jr. of ProAdams updated the board on organizational projects funded by Rapid Recovery Program and state Office of Travel & Tourism grants. These projects include the wayfinding signs, which Gargan helped present to the Zoning Board of Appeals last month; new brochures for the town, web advertising and an updated website. 


"Berkshire County has a great tourism economy, but Adams doesn't get much of that," he said, noting they used as much of the town's existing brand and colors as possible in the designs. "... The idea was to try to leverage some of those attractions that we do have." 


The first set of signs, Gargan said, is expected to be completed and ready for installation in the next several weeks. Green thanked the work ProAdams and other organizations are doing with the town. 


"You're making a difference, and this community is ever so slowly evolving into the community that we know it can become," he said.

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